As you cross the border from England into Wales, you will be greeted by the expression “Welcome to Wales” or “Croeso i Gymru” on most signs.
‘Croeso’ is the word for “welcome” in Welsh and – to the relief of many learners – it is used in very much the same way as in English. In addition to being a standard greeting as in the example of the sign, it can also be used in the sense of “you’re welcome” in response to “thank you.”
- Diolch am ddod heddiw. – Croeso! = Thank you for coming today. – You’re welcome!
To say that someone is welcome (to a party, your house, etc.), you’d use the following construction:
- Mae croeso i… / Mae ‘na groeso i… (literally “There is a welcome to…”)
- Mae croeso / Mae ‘na groeso i bawb. = Everyone is welcome.
Similarly if you want to say that someone is “welcome to do something” (join in, take part, attend, etc.) you would use the following:
- Mae croeso / Mae ‘na groeso i [someone] + soft mutated verb (literally “There is a welcome to [someone]…”)
- Mae croeso / Mae ‘na groeso mawr i ti ddod heno. = You are very welcome to come tonight.
- Mae croeso / Mae ‘na groeso i Sarah aros. = Sarah is welcome to stay.
Whether you use just ‘mae’ or ‘mae ‘na’ will depend on the formality of the situation and where you live in Wales. Generally speaking ‘mae ‘na’ is more colloquial and tends to be used in the north more than the south. You can also drop it altogether in speech:
- (Mae) croeso i ti siarad efo fi! = (You are) welcome speak with me!
Also keep in mind that ‘mae’ can be substituted by other forms of “to be” depending on the tense:
- Roedd croeso i bawb i’r gweithgareddau. = Everyone was welcome to the activities.
- Dw i’n siŵr byddai croeso iddyn nhw ymuno. – I’m sure they would be welcome to join.
Another welcoming word in Welsh is the verb ‘croesawu‘ or “to welcome / make someone welcome.” Once again its usage isn’t so different to English as you can see from the examples below:
- Dw i’n edrych ymlaen at groesawu pawb yn ôl. = I’m looking forward to welcoming everyone back.
- Mae o’n croesawu’r penderfyniad. = He welcomes the decision.
- Dyma newydd i’w groesawu. = This is welcome news. (Lit: This is news to be welcomed.)
You can also use the phrase ‘rhoi croeso‘ as an alternative to ‘croesawu‘.
To conclude, here are a few useful phrases featuring the word ‘welcome’ in Welsh. Mae croeso i chi eu defnyddio! (You are welcome to use them!)
- extend a warm welcome = ymestyn croeso cynnes
- welcome X with open arms = croesawu X gyda breichiau agored
- overstay one’s welcome = aros yn hwy na’ch croeso
- a lukewarm welcome = glasgroeso / croeso oeraidd